Is US Workaholism Costing Lawyers Clients?

Is US Workaholism Costing Lawyers Clients?

Lawyers using smartphones

When you’re glued to a screen or on a conference call, filing papers for ten hours a day, it’s easy to long for that illusive vacation you promised yourself. For most Americans, leaving an important workday is about as likely as finding a gold-plated jet waiting to take you to paradise in your backyard. Americans, whether we like it or not, work a lot. The U.S. leads the world in unused vacation days, as well as some of the longest workweeks. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than eleven million people work more than 59 hours a week, and 20 percent of us work more than 49 hours. We can’t seem to tear ourselves away from work, leaving millions people in need of extra time. With an 8-5 workweek, there’s barely time to squeeze in a haircut, much less consult an attorney. In the race to juggle work, life and legal strife, lawyers must adapt to attract new clients . . . and it’s not as difficult as many think.

Adjust After-Hours Expectations

A study called “The Challenges of the Legal Profession,” published by Reinhart Law, points out a major shift in client savviness over the past few decades. Years ago, a client would be in need of a legal service, saunter into a consult from a referral or shameless TV ad (which they had time for because we all worked less), and accept fees at face value. Plus, even 20 years ago the ads that run at ten PM wouldn’t do anyone any good if they lead the caller straight to a voicemail. Nowadays, Reinhart reports that clients are much more interested in comparing and evaluating the overall “worth” of the services to them. Part of this value rests on the Lawyer’s willingness to add contingencies and accommodations to the client’s contract. In the era of ADD we live in, exercising patience is no longer the status quo; clients want instant gratification whenever possible. Immediate peace of mind has replaced patience as the norm. The ABA (American Bar Association) notes, with a smirk, “once you’re a lawyer, you’re a lawyer 24/7,” and many clients, in desperation won’t respect office hours anyway. While meeting a client where they live (literally or figuratively) isn’t always possible the ABA suggests that mutual satisfaction lies in ground rules. To attain and keep new clients, make both accommodation and boundaries a priority.

Technology is Your Friend

Lawyers that ignore the necessity of a comprehensive digital and mobile presence are becoming less relevant every day– they’re like cassette tapes in a world that spins on iTunes. Reinhart’s study reveals a fascinating thesis about why so many lawyers may fail to evolve their marketing plans; because “the nature of legal issues handled by attorneys has remained the same,” but the vehicles in which they do so have changed dramatically. Clients are often more integrated with tech advancements than lawyers– they already take care of bills, shopping and errands online anytime they want– so lawyers looking for new clients need to stay ahead of the curve or “keep up with the Jones’”.

Mobile applications like “One Touch Law” weave together most lawyers’ marketing gaps in one fell swoop (or finger swoop, technically speaking). The mobile app (coming on IOS and Android in early September) allows prospective clients to search for specialized attorneys locally, browsing bios and reviews, and contact them directly. The client doesn’t want to waste time untangling search engine results, wait on hold, leave a message or miss work. They want everything at their fingertips, 24/7. With technology like One Touch Law, lawyers also don’t have to live with their fingers-crossed, hoping no one calls during dinner. One Touch allows lawyers to set their own availability, showing the prospective clients exactly when the attorney is available for a phone or video consult– all within the mobile app. Of course, all online marketing can’t be contained in one mobile app, but it can provide the technology to new prospects looking for a lawyer. One Touch Law strengthens the gap of todays’ new tech savvy client. One Touch Law provides growth opportunities for law firms or sole proprietors looking to expand their business, even with limited marketing funds.

Lawyers: Grab The Clients Without the Overtime

For attorneys trying to gain clientele after-hours and still maintain a healthy family and personal life; they can have their cake and eat it too. Jean Wallace, a professor of Sociology at the University of Calgary conducted an extensive study of lawyers in Alberta. Wallace notes that the attitudes and culture of a firm have more to do with your work-life balance than the actual policies themselves. She notes that larger firms generally require more hours, but they may be more flexible, whereas smaller firms tend to be more family-friendly. In either setting, we seem to be on the eve of a revolution in lawyer/client relationships. Lunch breaks, after-hours, and weekend consults are increasingly popular, but lawyers don’t have to strain themselves, free time and families. Thanks to technology like One Touch Law, lawyers can thrive and acquire new clients without plummeting into never-ending abyss of the American workweek. One Touch Law also levels the playing field for smaller firms and sole proprietors. When referrals run out and times seem tough, One Touch allows small firms to gain the same access as behemoth practices with seven figure marketing budgets—without adding late nights (unless the want to of course) and breaking the bank. Workaholism may hurt some client access, a clever lawyer can set boundaries and tap into mobile marketing– generating new, satisfied clientele without becoming workaholics themselves.

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